Stamford Health's High Risk Breast Cancer Screening program is committed to helping women who have been told they're at high risk for developing breast cancer. You may have been referred to our Risk Assessment Program because the results of your tests and health history show that you may have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than other women your age. But, don’t panic! We’re here to help you through the process of figuring out what your risk is and what you can do.
So what happens next?
We'll connect you with a breast specialist who has extensive experience helping women who may be at higher risk for breast cancer. When you meet with our breast specialist, you will be asked questions based on the information you provided about your health and medical history. You will also be asked about your family’s health history and ancestry, and perform a thorough breast exam. After this evaluation, you may not need additional care. But if you do, our breast specialist will make personalized recommendations for you.
Possible next steps may include any of the following:
- Recommending additional imaging tests, such as a breast MRI (a highly sensitive test that can detect problems early) in addition to your mammogram.
- Referring you to a genetic counselor (a specialist who can help you understand the health conditions that may run in your family).
- Teaching you about ways to reduce your risk through lifestyle changes.
- Referring you to a specialist (medical oncologist) to discuss medication that can lower your risk of getting breast cancer.
- Having you return for follow-up exams more often to keep a close eye on your breast health.
We also offer the following resources for individuals who are high risk for breast cancer:
CANCER GENETICS PROGRAM
Our certified genetic counseling team can provide an individualized assessment of personal cancer risk and can evaluate what role genetic factors may contribute to your risk of developing breast cancer. Genetic testing can provide concrete information about your cancer susceptibility genes that can help you understand your lifetime breast as well as ovarian cancer risk.
If you are at high risk for breast cancer, you may benefit from more frequent screenings and the use of particular technologies that enhance imaging in specific ways. Surveillance for high-risk patients involves additional breast screenings using digital mammography with computer-assisted detection in addition to breast ultrasound and high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Reducing your risk of breast cancer by incorporating lifestyle changes is greatly emphasized by our team. Our breast surgeons and medical oncologists are happy to discuss healthy living strategies with you. They work closely with the physicians in Integrative Medicine to ensure a holistic, evidence-based approach to wellness. Our Sarner Health and Fitness Institute also offers medically supervised fitness and lifestyle change. You can choose from an array of specialized programming, including water aerobics, yoga, personal training, and more.
Certain medications can be taken preventively to reduce the likelihood that breast cancer will develop. In consultation with medical oncologists at the Bennett Cancer Center, an example of a chemo-prevention strategy might be to take Tamoxifen, in order to decrease your risk of developing cancer.
Together, we’ll create an individualized plan to manage your breast health in the best way possible. Remember, you are not alone – we are your partner, and will do all we can to keep you healthy.